Answers to Your Top 5 Questions About Technical Interviews

“Code a solution to time travel in 10 minutes. Go!”

While we’d be over the moon if that were possible, this prompt is not the sort of coding challenge you can expect from Salesforce.

We understand technical interviews can feel intimidating, but don’t worry. Whether you’re interested in a role at Salesforce, or just doing research to prep for your next career move, our goal is to help you shine and show off your skills.

Interviewing for an engineering position at Salesforce is a three-part process: (1) a technical screening, (2) a technical interview — also known as a programming test, and (3) a meeting with the hiring manager and interview team. This blog goes a layer deeper than our 7 Tips To Ace Your Virtual Interview. Here, we’ll demystify the notorious second step by addressing five common questions about our technical interviews.

1. Why programming tests?

At Salesforce we’re solving engineering challenges at the scale of hundreds of millions of users. That massive impact paired with our dedication to maintaining customer trust means that hiring the most qualified talent is critical. We want to understand how you code, think, and problem-solve. And a programming assessment allows us to do just that.

2. What can I expect?

We use HackerRank as our coding test platform. Not only does this give you access to essential tools — like an editor and debugger — but it also gives you convenience. You can take the coding test remotely at a time that works for you — whether that’s during the day or in the middle of the night.

When you begin, you’ll receive a detailed problem. Use your best judgment to solve it. Tackle it in a way that will allow you to do your best work. For example, if working in your local environment is better for you, then download the project and work on it locally. You’ll have three hours to complete the test.

Want more detail? Check out Strategies for Successful Software Engineer Interviews on Trailhead, our online learning platform.

3. What should I focus on?

Before submitting your program, make sure you have thoroughly tested all possible input combinations. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the problem solved?
  • Is the output correct?
  • Have I written automated tests?

You may even want to take notes about how you solved the problem so that you can discuss both the solution and your methodology with your interviewer.

4. How do you evaluate my submission?

The test is evaluated as if you were writing an actual application for deployment. Keep in mind that we’re less interested in you demonstrating knowledge of the language — rather, we want to see how you might perform as an engineer in a real development environment.

We’re reviewing to ensure that:

  1. Your program compiles and executes according to the problem description (this is most important!).
  2. It’s a well-designed, object-oriented program.
  3. The solution is scalable and would solve our customers’ needs.

5. Will the test fairly assess my skills?

Equality is a core value at Salesforce. We strive to create a workplace that reflects the diverse communities we serve and where everyone feels empowered to bring their full, authentic selves to work.

We’re committed to delivering a fair and equitable hiring process. That includes our programming tests. Here are some of the ways we feel this assessment helps to create equitable opportunities:

  • These tests help ensure that all candidates are evaluated based on the key competencies for the role, not pedigree.
  • Because the assessment is on-demand, you can complete it at the time and in the environment that works best for you. In fact, 69% of candidates take their tests during non-standard business hours.
  • If you require accessibility assistance, our Recruiting team is here to help.
  • Every test is run through a bias and sensitivity review by a third party.

Remember, programming tests are an opportunity for you to show off your coding skills, thoughtful approach, and commitment to quality. Here are some of our favorite resources to study:

Ready to transform your everyday? Indicate your interest to the Salesforce Recruiting team.